Monday, 8 April 2019 edition

SingCham Weekly: Amazon to open cloud data centres in Indonesia

Monday, 1 April 2019

YLKI expects new airfare regulations to end price war

The issuance of new airfare regulations that introduce a higher price floor will likely end the era of cheap airfares that triggered a price war among airlines, according to the Indonesia Consumer Foundation (YLKI). Previously, the Transportation Ministry issued a ministerial regulation and a ministerial decree stipulates a price floor and price ceiling for economy class seats on each scheduled route of domestic commercial airlines. The price floor for airline tickets is 35 % of the price ceiling, whereas previously, The price floor was 30% of the price ceiling.

Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand agree to cut rubber exports

Indonesia, along with two other members of the International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC) — Malaysia and Thailand – will cut the export of natural rubber in an attempt to stabilize the commodity’s global price. Global rubber price is steadying at around US$1.4 per kilogram after it dived to below $1.2 late last year. With the AETS, the price of rubber is expected to increase to more than $1.5 per kilogram, with the possibility of reaching $2 per kilogram.

Political hoaxes increasing ahead of election: Ministry

The Communications and Information Ministry has found that 130 of 1,224 hoaxes and fake news spread from August 2018 to March 2019 were related to the presidential candidates, political parties and election organizers.

Singapore Airlines grounds two 787-10s citing Rolls-Royce engine problem

Singapore Airlines Ltd said it had grounded two Boeing Co 787-10 jets fitted with Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC Trent 1000 TEN engines after checks of its fleet found premature blade deterioration. The jets have been removed from service pending engine replacement, the airline said in a statement.

Apple, luxury brands drop China prices as VAT cuts come into effect

Apple Inc and other consumer brands lowered prices for their products in China on Monday as a cut in the country’s value-added tax (VAT) rate came into effect. Price tags for products listed on the Apple’s China website were lowered including a discount of up to 500 yuan (US$74.44) for some of its latest iPhone models.Suggested retail prices for brands including LVMH’s Louis Vuitton and Kering’s Gucci were also cut by around 3 %, according to local media reports.

Channel NewsAsia rebrands as CNA

Mediacorp-owned news organisation Channel NewsAsia has rebranded itself as CNA. The name change reflects a larger transformation underway at the organisation which will see the launch of radio station CNA Talk, the start of a citizen-journalism initiative called Tell CNA and an increasing reliance on artificial intelligence.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Tourist arrivals grow 6.12 % to 1.27m in February

Statistics Indonesia (BPS) has revealed that tourist arrivals hit 1.27m in February, 6.12 % higher than the 1.20 m recorded in the same month in 2018. BPS data show that the occupancy rate of star-rated hotels in February 2019 was 52.44 %, a decline of 3.77 % compared to the occupancy rate in February 2018 of 56.21 %. BPS data show that the occupancy rate of star-rated hotels in February 2019 was 52.44 %, a decline of 3.77 % compared to the occupancy rate in February 2018 of 56.21 %.

Indonesia records 0.11 % inflation in March

Indonesia recorded 0.11 % month-to-month inflation in March, driven by price increases in the manufactured food, beverage and cigarette category, as foodstuff prices remained relatively stable, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced.

ExxonMobil commits to multi-billion dollar expansion of SG manufacturing complex

ExxonMobil announced a multi-billion dollar expansion of its integrated manufacturing complex in Singapore that will help it increase production of cleaner fuels with lower-sulphur content. The expansion project, which is expected to come online in 2023, will convert fuel oil and other residual crude products into higher-value lube base stocks and distillates.

Cell phone ‘Tower of Babel’ highlights China e-waste problem

A Chinese artist unveiled a sculpture made of discarded mobile phones and shaped like a cell tower in a bid to highlight the problem of electronic waste. China’s waste from computers, mobile phones, and other electronics will reach 15.4 m tonnes by 2020, said environmental group Greenpeace, which organised the display. As a leading manufacturer and consumer of electronic goods, China was a logical place to launch an e-waste recycling and reduction campaign, the group said.

Bitcoin jumps 20 %, mystery order seen as catalyst

Bitcoin soared to its highest in almost five months, pulling smaller cryptocurrencies up with it, after a major order by an anonymous buyer set off a frenzy of computer-driven trading, analysts said. Today’s gain was probably triggered by an order worth about $100 m spread across U.S.-based exchanges Coinbase and Kraken and Luxembourg’s Bitstamp, said Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, chief executive of cryptocurrency firm BCB Group.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Snow-themed park opens in Bekasi

Bekasi in West Java has opened an indoor park filled with snowflakes and a ski arena, called Trans Snow World. Located on the third floor of the Transpark Mall Juanda property complex, the 2,000-square-meter park offers plenty of activities for families, including snowboarding, snowball making, skiing and riding on ski chair lifts.

Amazon to open cloud data centres in Indonesia

Cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services (AWS), a business arm of multinational tech behemoth Amazon, announced it was building its first cloud region in Indonesia. The cloud region, which comprises three data centres in Jakarta, will be operational by either late 2021 or early 2022. AWS currently holds the highest market share (32.3%) of public cloud providers worldwide followed by Microsoft Azure (16.5%) and Google Cloud (9.5%), according to market research firm Canalys.

Indonesian school in Singapore welcomes digital book kiosk

Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore I Gede Ngurah Swajaya has launched digital kiosks (KIPIN ATM) at Sekolah Indonesia Limited (SIS Ltd), an Indonesian school in Singapore to provide additional classroom materials for students and teachers. Sekolah Indonesia Limited caters to Indonesian students and operates under the supervision of the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore.

Twenty superyachts to make waves at Singapore Yacht Show

Asia’s premier boat and yacht exhibition, the Singapore Yacht Show (SYS), is ready to introduce 20 superyachts among a lineup of more than 80 yachts to the Asian market and showcase the latest trends from the yachting lifestyle. The ninth edition of SYS will kick off on April 10 with the Singapore Yacht Show Gala & Asia Boating Awards 2019, held at Singapore’s Capitol Theatre with the theme of “art deco elegance”. The show will run in full force from April 11 to 14 at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove, featuring the latest offerings from some of the world’s leading superyacht builders and dealerships, including Simpson Marine, Princess Yachts and Ferretti Group.

Asda overtakes suitor Sainsbury’s to become UK’s No. 2 supermarket: Kantar

Sainsbury’s has lost its status as Britain’s No. 2 supermarket group by market share to takeover target Asda for the first time in four years as industry data confirmed Sainsbury’s as the sector laggard.  Kantar said Sainsbury’s remained the biggest seller of food and drink out of the two retailers as its figures do not include the Argos general merchandise business it acquired in 2016. Sainsbury’s agreed 7.3bn pound (US$9.5bn) takeover of Asda is currently being considered by Britain’s competition regulator.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

MRT yet to impact apartment, office space prices: Colliers International

The average price of apartments and office space in Jakarta has yet to increase despite the completion of the highly anticipated MRT, according to property developer Colliers International Indonesia. According to Colliers, the gap between a large supply and soft demand was the major cause of stagnant growth for apartment prices in Jakarta in the first quarter of 2019. The property developer expects growth to diminish to 3-4 % this year on the back of weak demand and uncertainty in a political year and increase gradually by 5-6 % from 2020 to 2021.  

Transport development prompts hike in South Jakarta property: IPW

The development of the mass rapid transit (MRT) and other transportation infrastructure has increased the value of property, particularly in areas near the developments, the Indonesia Property Watch (IPW) has said. IPW executive director Ali Tranghanda said that transit-oriented development (TOD) was a growing trend among property developers. “The closer an area is to public transportation facilities, the better the property’s investment,” Ali said. Ali said this was particularly apparent in Lebak Bulus, Cilandak and Fatmawati, which were located close to the MRT stations in South Jakarta.

Tokopedia, University of Indonesia launch AI research center

Leading e-commerce platform Tokopedia has become the latest company to join in the efforts to tackle the country’s shortage of digital talents by launching its first artificial intelligence (AI) center in collaboration with the University of Indonesia. Tokopedia and UI have jointly launched the AI Center of Excellence at the university’s computer science building in Depok, West Java. The research center, the first in Indonesia to be equipped with deep-learning super computer technology NVIDIA DGX-1, serves as an AI-development platform for the university’s academics and researchers.

Garuda Indonesia booked US$809,846 profit in 2018

Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia booked US$809,846 in 2018 after it recorded a loss of $216.58 m the previous year, according to a company report to the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX). The report says the company’s revenue increased to $4.37bn in 2018 from $4.17bn in 2017.

Trump says trade deal with China could be reached in about four weeks

U.S. President Donald Trump said a trade deal with China was getting very close and could be reached in about four weeks. China and the United States are in the middle of intense negotiations to end a months-long trade war that has rattled global markets. Washington wants sweeping changes to China’s economic and trade policies, while Beijing wants Trump to lift expensive sanctions on Chinese goods.

Tesla investors lose faith after first-quarter deliveries disappoint

A bigger-than-expected drop in Tesla Inc deliveries spooked stock and bond investors, raising concern about the electric-car maker’s ability to make money as Chief Executive Elon Musk headed into another legal tussle with regulators. The company’s shares fell 8.7 %. Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope called the numbers “more shocking than disappointing” and said there remain doubts whether Tesla could deliver 400,000 cars this year.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Jakarta provides free breakfasts for schoolkids

The Jakarta administration has rolled out a program to provide extra meals for schoolchildren in order to boost nutrition among children in the capital. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the program was introduced over concerns about children who went to school without eating breakfast. The program provides meals every morning for free to schools in poor areas in the city based on a 2019 gubernatorial decree on the provision of an extra meal at schools. It aims to increase nutritional adequacy among schoolchildren.

China Eastern Airlines moves to Soekarno-Hatta’s Terminal 3

Chinese airline China Eastern will move from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on April 7. Terminal 3 is the newest terminal at the Soekarno-Hatta airport complex. Its interior is sleek and spacious to ensure convenience for passengers. Parts of the terminal are also used to display the works of Indonesia’s prominent artists.

Bayer Indonesia wants to export more this year

The Germany-based Bayer pharmaceutical company is optimistic it would be able to boost its exports this year given the achievements it has recorded in the last few years. Bayer Indonesia president director Angel-Michael Evangelista said the company aims to boost its monthly exports to 65 containers on average, a 30% increase from the current 50 containers per month.  The health products are manufactured at Bayer’s Cimanggis plant in Depok, West Java, the company’s only health product factory in the Asia-Pacific region and one of its 12 production plants worldwide.

Rising number of businesses cut ties with Brunei over gay sex death penalty

Travel agents, London’s transport network and finance houses were among a rising number of companies on Friday to cut ties with businesses owned by Brunei to protest over the Sultanate’s introduction of the death penalty for gay sex and adultery. The small Muslim-majority former British protectorate on April 3 rolled out further Islamic Sharia laws which punish sodomy, adultery and rape with death, including by stoning, and theft with amputation, sparking a global outcry. The move prompted a corporate backlash after actor George Clooney and singer Elton John called for a boycott of hotels owned by the Southeast Asian country, including the Dorchester in London and the Beverley Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

Trump urges Fed to lower U.S. interest rates

President Donald Trump said the U.S. Federal Reserve should lower interest rates and take other unconventional measures to ease pressure on an economy that he said they slowed down. The U.S. president also suggested that the central bank pursue an unconventional monetary policy called “quantitative easing” that was used to nurse the economy back after the global financial crisis.